The Pursuit of Attention: Power and Ego in Everyday Life

Paperback | April 15, 2000

byCharles Derber

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"Enough about me," goes the old saying, "what about you? What do you think about me?" Hence the pursuit of attention is alive and well. Even the Oxford English Dictionary reveals a modern coinage to reflect the chase in our technological age: "ego-surfing"--searching the Internet foroccurrences of your own name. What is the cause of this obsessive need for others' recognition? This useful and popular volume, now in a second edition that features major new introductory and concluding essays, entertainingly ponders this question. Derber argues that there is a general lack ofsocial support in today's America, one which causes people to vie hungrily for attention, and he shows how individuals will often employ numerous techniques to turn the course of a conversation towards themselves. Illustrating this "conversational narcissism" with sample dialogues that will seemdisturbingly familiar to all readers, this book analyzes the pursuit of attention in conversation--as well as in politics and celebrity culture--and demonstrates the ultimate importance of gender, class, and racial differences in competing for attention. Derber shows how changes in the economy andculture--such as the advent of the Internet--have intensified the rampant individualism and egotism of today. And finally, in a new afterword, he focuses on solutions: how to restructure the economy and culture to humanize ourselves and increase the capacity for community, empathy, andattention-giving.

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From Our Editors

This provocative scholarly study describes our society as being insecure and narcissistic in nature. In The Pursuit of Attention Power and Ego In Every day Life Second Edition, Charles Derber poses a very important question: “why is it so important to have everything relate back to our selves?” He analyzes the pursuit of attention ...

From the Publisher

"Enough about me," goes the old saying, "what about you? What do you think about me?" Hence the pursuit of attention is alive and well. Even the Oxford English Dictionary reveals a modern coinage to reflect the chase in our technological age: "ego-surfing"--searching the Internet foroccurrences of your own name. What is the cause of th...

Charles Derber, author of Corporation Nation and The Wilding of America, is Professor of Sociology at Boston College.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:160 pages, 5.31 × 7.99 × 0.31 inPublished:April 15, 2000Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195135490

ISBN - 13:9780195135497

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From Our Editors

This provocative scholarly study describes our society as being insecure and narcissistic in nature. In The Pursuit of Attention Power and Ego In Every day Life Second Edition, Charles Derber poses a very important question: “why is it so important to have everything relate back to our selves?” He analyzes the pursuit of attention in conversation, politics and celebrity culture. This book also provides examples of conversational narcissism and sample dialogues.

Editorial Reviews

"Derber is on to something important, and I like what he says--it makes much sense. The subject serves the kind of attention (if I may use the word) he's giving it."--Robert Coles (on the previous edition)